Monthly Archives: April 2015

55 - My First Mountain Race - Vocabulary

Visit www.anglais.re for more !

I remember the very first time I went hiking. I was a 20 year old London girl living the island experience. Reunion was a real eye opener and falling in love with the island took no time: I learned to like beer while watching the sunset with friends who have since been part of my life, I discovered the sounds of Maloya which I love so much, I started appreciating a more laid-back attitude to life and even went on my first strike (which I actually enjoyed at that point). Everything was truly perfect. 

 

And then I went on my first hike, to Mafate. Now, don’t get me wrong, it was a great experience.  But it was also a very confusing one for me. I was young and fit, and expected to march down to Mafate without any trouble, with spare time to have a chicken samosa and Dodo beer break every now and then. The first 15 minutes were ok, and then I just didn’t understand what was happening. I was out of breath, and felt like a one-year old taking her first steps on unknown territory. I actually remember watching my American friend, Bridget, who’d obviously been on hikes before, skip downhill and manoeuvre her New Balance trainers from rock to rock like it was child’s play. 

 

As for me, I could completely understand why they laughed at Christopher Columbus for suggesting the world was round – it’s just so much easier when we’re on a flat surface! But I soldiered on, made it to Mafate, pretended it had been easy so my new boyfriend wouldn’t laugh at me, and drank as much Dodo as I could to forget the fact that I had to go uphill the next day. 

 

So when last week I took part in my very first mountain race, the Cilaos Women Trail, which was 22km long, I couldn’t help but grin at the thought of that very first hike. My friend Cobie, who had had a similarly disastrous first hike and who was also doing the race, and I were both very touched at the thought of how far we had come. 

 

The trail itself was amazing. There was such a good atmosphere, and hearing all these people cheer you on really does keep you going when it gets tough. I twisted my ankle somewhere in between the first and second checkpoints, but still managed to make it to the end, in 3h39. I felt so proud of myself!

 

I remember, only two years ago, thinking that all these people signing up to the Grand Raid and similar races were mad. I just couldn’t understand why they would put themselves through the physical and psychological strain

 

But now I do understand: Reunion does that to you. This little island has the strange capacity to draw you into the most unlikely situations that bring the best out of you. Situations where you see yourself transitioning into someone you never thought you could be. Some say it has something to do with it being a volcanic island, I don’t know. All I know is that I’m glad to have experienced that transition from almost dying of a heart attack on my first hike, to doing the Cilaos Women Trail, and who knows what will come next…

 

Vocabulary

a real eye opener - un véritable révélation

laid-back attitude - attitude décontractée

actually - en fait

don’t get me wrong - Ne vous méprenez pas

fit - en bonne santé

skip - sauter

soldiered on - persévéré

grin - sourire

tough - difficile

checkpoint - point de contrôle

signing up - enregistrer

strain - tension

 

glad - heureux

00:0000:00

55 - My First Mountain Race - Slow

Visit www.anglais.re for more !

I remember the very first time I went hiking. I was a 20 year old London girl living the island experience. Reunion was a real eye opener and falling in love with the island took no time: I learned to like beer while watching the sunset with friends who have since been part of my life, I discovered the sounds of Maloya which I love so much, I started appreciating a more laid-back attitude to life and even went on my first strike (which I actually enjoyed at that point). Everything was truly perfect. 

 

And then I went on my first hike, to Mafate. Now, don’t get me wrong, it was a great experience.  But it was also a very confusing one for me. I was young and fit, and expected to march down to Mafate without any trouble, with spare time to have a chicken samosa and Dodo beer break every now and then. The first 15 minutes were ok, and then I just didn’t understand what was happening. I was out of breath, and felt like a one-year old taking her first steps on unknown territory. I actually remember watching my American friend, Bridget, who’d obviously been on hikes before, skip downhill and manoeuvre her New Balance trainers from rock to rock like it was child’s play. 

 

As for me, I could completely understand why they laughed at Christopher Columbus for suggesting the world was round – it’s just so much easier when we’re on a flat surface! But I soldiered on, made it to Mafate, pretended it had been easy so my new boyfriend wouldn’t laugh at me, and drank as much Dodo as I could to forget the fact that I had to go uphill the next day. 

 

So when last week I took part in my very first mountain race, the Cilaos Women Trail, which was 22km long, I couldn’t help but grin at the thought of that very first hike. My friend Cobie, who had had a similarly disastrous first hike and who was also doing the race, and I were both very touched at the thought of how far we had come. 

 

The trail itself was amazing. There was such a good atmosphere, and hearing all these people cheer you on really does keep you going when it gets tough. I twisted my ankle somewhere in between the first and second checkpoints, but still managed to make it to the end, in 3h39. I felt so proud of myself!

 

I remember, only two years ago, thinking that all these people signing up to the Grand Raid and similar races were mad. I just couldn’t understand why they would put themselves through the physical and psychological strain

 

But now I do understand: Reunion does that to you. This little island has the strange capacity to draw you into the most unlikely situations that bring the best out of you. Situations where you see yourself transitioning into someone you never thought you could be. Some say it has something to do with it being a volcanic island, I don’t know. All I know is that I’m glad to have experienced that transition from almost dying of a heart attack on my first hike, to doing the Cilaos Women Trail, and who knows what will come next…

 

Vocabulary

a real eye opener - un véritable révélation

laid-back attitude - attitude décontractée

actually - en fait

don’t get me wrong - Ne vous méprenez pas

fit - en bonne santé

skip - sauter

soldiered on - persévéré

grin - sourire

tough - difficile

checkpoint - point de contrôle

signing up - enregistrer

strain - tension

 

glad - heureux

00:0000:00

55 - My First Mountain Race

Visit www.anglais.re for more !

I remember the very first time I went hiking. I was a 20 year old London girl living the island experience. Reunion was a real eye opener and falling in love with the island took no time: I learned to like beer while watching the sunset with friends who have since been part of my life, I discovered the sounds of Maloya which I love so much, I started appreciating a more laid-back attitude to life and even went on my first strike (which I actually enjoyed at that point). Everything was truly perfect. 

And then I went on my first hike, to Mafate. Now, don’t get me wrong, it was a great experience.  But it was also a very confusing one for me. I was young and fit, and expected to march down to Mafate without any trouble, with spare time to have a chicken samosa and Dodo beer break every now and then. The first 15 minutes were ok, and then I just didn’t understand what was happening. I was out of breath, and felt like a one-year old taking her first steps on unknown territory. I actually remember watching my American friend, Bridget, who’d obviously been on hikes before, skip downhill and manoeuvre her New Balance trainers from rock to rock like it was child’s play. 

As for me, I could completely understand why they laughed at Christopher Columbus for suggesting the world was round – it’s just so much easier when we’re on a flat surface! But I soldiered on, made it to Mafate, pretended it had been easy so my new boyfriend wouldn’t laugh at me, and drank as much Dodo as I could to forget the fact that I had to go uphill the next day. 

So when last week I took part in my very first mountain race, the Cilaos Women Trail, which was 22km long, I couldn’t help but grin at the thought of that very first hike. My friend Cobie, who had had a similarly disastrous first hike and who was also doing the race, and I were both very touched at the thought of how far we had come. 

The trail itself was amazing. There was such a good atmosphere, and hearing all these people cheer you on really does keep you going when it gets tough. I twisted my ankle somewhere in between the first and second checkpoints, but still managed to make it to the end, in 3h39. I felt so proud of myself!

I remember, only two years ago, thinking that all these people signing up to the Grand Raid and similar races were mad. I just couldn’t understand why they would put themselves through the physical and psychological strain

But now I do understand: Reunion does that to you. This little island has the strange capacity to draw you into the most unlikely situations that bring the best out of you. Situations where you see yourself transitioning into someone you never thought you could be. Some say it has something to do with it being a volcanic island, I don’t know. All I know is that I’m glad to have experienced that transition from almost dying of a heart attack on my first hike, to doing the Cilaos Women Trail, and who knows what will come next…


Vocabulary

a real eye opener - un véritable révélation

laid-back attitude - attitude décontractée

actually - en fait

don’t get me wrong - Ne vous méprenez pas

fit - en bonne santé

skip - sauter

soldiered on - persévéré

grin - sourire

tough - difficile

checkpoint - point de contrôle

signing up - enregistrer

strain - tension

glad - heureux

00:0000:00

54 - Jump-Start in Reunion - Vocabulary

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Jump-start in Reunion!

As cliché as it sounds, I will  say, my, oh my, how time flies! I can’t believe that a year has gone by since we first arrived here. How did this happen? How did I also hit the big 30, all at once? I still have a vivid memory of our first arrival at the Roland Garros Airport, the initial impressions of the island and our first Car Jaune ride to Saint Louis along the sinuous mountain roads. 

In the past year, I’ve had the privilege of meeting many colourful personalities with gripping life stories from Reunion, France, England, Canada etc. It was a journey of self-discovery, with lots of introspection as I sought to find my way around socially, culturally and professionally. Like every other person who has relocated from one country to another, you will know that it’s no walk in the park, with plenty of high and low moments. However, it was really through meeting these people and listening to their life passions, decisions and interests that I was able to reaffirm my own; and inadvertently rewire my thoughts and expectations of myself. 

It was only here that I took the time to pursue other interests. Not that anything was stopping me back home (apart from the lack of time), but it is most certainly the natural energy in Reunion that gets people upbeat about getting their feet wet in everything and carve out new life paths if they want to. The fact that people ‘take the time’ to ‘make the time’ (if this makes sense) (a) to think of other things outside of their careers and (b) prioritise quality of life over money and societal expectations. Funnily enough, it was only here that I tried  paragliding, meditating, diving, hiking, pottery and the list goes on. Suffice to say, I can proclaim that I recently jump-started my life, from simply being a cog in the wheel in the corporate world to becoming a trier of new experiences far away from home.

When you are jump-starting, you are basically starting a new life chapter in an active way while being open to different experiences. If you take a closer look at the people around you, don’t be surprised to see other fellow life jump-starters randomly learning sign language just because they want to, slack lining in the forests because they can and doing yoga on paddle boards in the lagoon simply because they feel like it’s the way to ‘be’ (mentally, physically, spiritually). There are no lack of options here for a tiny faraway island.

So, before you think of booking your next flight to go across the ocean for a new experience, ask yourself the following: when was the last time you did something different here? When was your last jump-start in Reunion?

 

Vocabulary

How time flies - le temps passe vite

gripping - passionnant

it’s no walk in the park - Ce n'est pas du gateau

plenty - assez

rewire - refaire

lack - manque

upbeat - optimiste

getting ones feet wet - essayer de nouvelles choses

carve out - créer

Cog - dent
Wheel - roues
00:0000:00

54 - Jump-Start in Reunion - Slow

Visit www.anglais.re for more !

Jump-start in Reunion!

As cliché as it sounds, I will  say, my, oh my, how time flies! I can’t believe that a year has gone by since we first arrived here. How did this happen? How did I also hit the big 30, all at once? I still have a vivid memory of our first arrival at the Roland Garros Airport, the initial impressions of the island and our first Car Jaune ride to Saint Louis along the sinuous mountain roads. 

In the past year, I’ve had the privilege of meeting many colourful personalities with gripping life stories from Reunion, France, England, Canada etc. It was a journey of self-discovery, with lots of introspection as I sought to find my way around socially, culturally and professionally. Like every other person who has relocated from one country to another, you will know that it’s no walk in the park, with plenty of high and low moments. However, it was really through meeting these people and listening to their life passions, decisions and interests that I was able to reaffirm my own; and inadvertently rewire my thoughts and expectations of myself. 

It was only here that I took the time to pursue other interests. Not that anything was stopping me back home (apart from the lack of time), but it is most certainly the natural energy in Reunion that gets people upbeat about getting their feet wet in everything and carve out new life paths if they want to. The fact that people ‘take the time’ to ‘make the time’ (if this makes sense) (a) to think of other things outside of their careers and (b) prioritise quality of life over money and societal expectations. Funnily enough, it was only here that I tried  paragliding, meditating, diving, hiking, pottery and the list goes on. Suffice to say, I can proclaim that I recently jump-started my life, from simply being a cog in the wheel in the corporate world to becoming a trier of new experiences far away from home.

When you are jump-starting, you are basically starting a new life chapter in an active way while being open to different experiences. If you take a closer look at the people around you, don’t be surprised to see other fellow life jump-starters randomly learning sign language just because they want to, slack lining in the forests because they can and doing yoga on paddle boards in the lagoon simply because they feel like it’s the way to ‘be’ (mentally, physically, spiritually). There are no lack of options here for a tiny faraway island.

So, before you think of booking your next flight to go across the ocean for a new experience, ask yourself the following: when was the last time you did something different here? When was your last jump-start in Reunion?

 

Vocabulary

How time flies - le temps passe vite

gripping - passionnant

it’s no walk in the park - Ce n'est pas du gateau

plenty - assez

rewire - refaire

lack - manque

upbeat - optimiste

getting ones feet wet - essayer de nouvelles choses

carve out - créer

Cog - dent
Wheel - roues
00:0000:00

54 - Jump-Start in Reunion

Visit www.anglais.re for more !

Jump-start in Reunion!

As cliché as it sounds, I will  say, my, oh my, how time flies! I can’t believe that a year has gone by since we first arrived here. How did this happen? How did I also hit the big 30, all at once? I still have a vivid memory of our first arrival at the Roland Garros Airport, the initial impressions of the island and our first Car Jaune ride to Saint Louis along the sinuous mountain roads. 

In the past year, I’ve had the privilege of meeting many colourful personalities with gripping life stories from Reunion, France, England, Canada etc. It was a journey of self-discovery, with lots of introspection as I sought to find my way around socially, culturally and professionally. Like every other person who has relocated from one country to another, you will know that it’s no walk in the park, with plenty of high and low moments. However, it was really through meeting these people and listening to their life passions, decisions and interests that I was able to reaffirm my own; and inadvertently rewire my thoughts and expectations of myself. 

It was only here that I took the time to pursue other interests. Not that anything was stopping me back home (apart from the lack of time), but it is most certainly the natural energy in Reunion that gets people upbeat about getting their feet wet in everything and carve out new life paths if they want to. The fact that people ‘take the time’ to ‘make the time’ (if this makes sense) (a) to think of other things outside of their careers and (b) prioritise quality of life over money and societal expectations. Funnily enough, it was only here that I tried  paragliding, meditating, diving, hiking, pottery and the list goes on. Suffice to say, I can proclaim that I recently jump-started my life, from simply being a cog in the wheel in the corporate world to becoming a trier of new experiences far away from home.

When you are jump-starting, you are basically starting a new life chapter in an active way while being open to different experiences. If you take a closer look at the people around you, don’t be surprised to see other fellow life jump-starters randomly learning sign language just because they want to, slack lining in the forests because they can and doing yoga on paddle boards in the lagoon simply because they feel like it’s the way to ‘be’ (mentally, physically, spiritually). There are no lack of options here for a tiny faraway island.

So, before you think of booking your next flight to go across the ocean for a new experience, ask yourself the following: when was the last time you did something different here? When was your last jump-start in Reunion?

Vocabulary

How time flies - le temps passe vite

gripping - passionnant

it’s no walk in the park - Ce n'est pas du gateau

plenty - assez

rewire - refaire

lack - manque

upbeat - optimiste

getting ones feet wet - essayer de nouvelles choses

carve out - créer

Cog - dent
Wheel - roues
00:0000:00

53 - Homesick - Vocabulary

Visit www.anglais.re for more !
 
I have been traveling in and out of my country since I was 18, but I've recently realised that this is the longest time I've been away without a little month's break or something in the middle. Lately I've been feeling kind of homesick, so I thought I would share with you a few reasons why.
 
You might laugh, since French cuisine is among the best in the world, but I miss my American food! Although I've recently become vegetarian, I can tell you that when I go back to the US this July, I will not be adhering to my new diet, although I must add that the vegetarian and vegan restaurants are so incredible that even meat eaters would be surprised to learn that what they are eating isn't actually meat. Vegetarians have so many more options there!! But the thing I miss the most is Tex-Mex, which is a mix of Texan and Mexican cuisine. Think spicy salsa and guacamole with tortilla chips and everything covered in lime juice, fresh tomatoes and cilantro. Also, if you have never eaten a thick Texas rib-eye steak, you have not yet lived. Sadly I know the difference involves things like injected hormones and chemicals but if I only get to eat it once every 2 or 3 years, it's OK, right? Speaking of beef, did you know that hot dogs are made of beef and not pork, like they are here? They are a billion times better, especially with fresh onions on top and some American mustard. Finally I have to say that one of the best culinary inventions is the giant soft pretzel. I love them so much that I found a way to make them from scratch here! It takes me three hours but sometimes I just have to have them. The only bad part is that you absolutely need American mustard with them, and I've just run out of my stash! 
 
Another reason why I miss the US is because of the opportunities there. If you want to study oceanography, there is a university only 20 minutes away from you, teaching it! (Also, side note, why is oceanography so difficult to study here, the ocean is RIGHT THERE!) If you want to learn vinyasa yoga, well you have a choice of 7 studios in your neighborhood! If you want to take piano lessons, there are 30 teachers in your area and someone will probably even come to your house. If you want to order a spiralizer (seriously this is a recent problem I have had here, I can't get anyone to ship one to Reunion!) (oh and a spiralizer is something that turns vegetables into noodles.) well you just take five minutes deciding on the style you want on Amazon and it shows up at your door in only 8-10 working days! If you want ANYTHING at ANYTIME, whatever you can dream up, you can have, be, or do. You are only limited by your ambition and imagination. And I guess by money too. 
 
Did you know in the US, the customer has the power? Capitalism certainly has it's flaws, but when you decide to spend your hard earned money somewhere, the company at least pretends to make you feel important. Because they know you can just as easily turn around and spend your money somewhere else. And they definitely want you to stay. I used to wait tables at a bar. The wait staff is paid $2.13 an hour, just enough to cover taxes. You bring home only what you earn in tips. (Which, by the way, is 20 percent of your bill in the US, if you ever travel there! That's why the restaurants are so much cheaper, gratuity is not included!) So the wait staff is motivated to make you the happiest/drunkest person you can possibly be. The more happy you are, the more likely you are to come back, to tell you friends to come with you, and to request your really lovely waitress who always takes good care of you. We have a time limit in the US. In general, you are supposed to be greeted at your table within one minute of sitting down, and a drink should be in your hand within the first five minutes. If your beer is down to the last quarter, you will be handed another one without even having to ask for it. The last few times I've been to a restaurant here, I've waited about 20 minutes for someone to stroll over to my table and ask what we want. Then they either forget what we ordered or mess it up somehow, or they take another hour to get the food on the table. I'm not exaggerating, this happens more than it doesn't here. And in Reunion, when your hot water breaks down in your apartment, your landlord will apparently take the first few days to argue with you about why you should pay to replace his fifteen year old water heater, and then when he concedes, he'll send two incompetent guys who can't fix the problem for another five days. Back home, the landlord would have that changed out in a day, and if for some reason he couldn't, he'd offer you some kind of "I'm sorry" gift like restaurant tickets or a fruit basket. They want you to stay and be happy, write nice reviews about them online and tell everyone how awesome they are.
 
 
So, I invite anyone to meet me in the US in July! We will share some great Tex-Mex at a restaurant with excellent service, and then go off to our yoga/singing classes because YES WE CAN!
 
Vocabulary
 
realise - se rendre compte de
lately - récemment
homesick - nostalgique
diet - régime
actually - en fait
 
lime - citron vert
cilantro - coriandre
a billion - milliard
from scratch - à partir de zéro
run out of - à court de
 
side note - notes secondaires
noodles - nouilles
pretend - prétendre
wait tables - servir des tables
tips - pourboire
 
cheaper - moins cher
drunkest - plus ivre
somehow - d'une façon ou d'une autre
break down - tomber en panne
landlord - propriétaire
 
fix - réparer
gift - cadeau
fruit basket - corbeille de fruits
awesome - impressionnant
00:0000:00

53 - Homesick - Slow

Visit www.anglais.re for more !
 
I have been traveling in and out of my country since I was 18, but I've recently realised that this is the longest time I've been away without a little month's break or something in the middle. Lately I've been feeling kind of homesick, so I thought I would share with you a few reasons why.
 
You might laugh, since French cuisine is among the best in the world, but I miss my American food! Although I've recently become vegetarian, I can tell you that when I go back to the US this July, I will not be adhering to my new diet, although I must add that the vegetarian and vegan restaurants are so incredible that even meat eaters would be surprised to learn that what they are eating isn't actually meat. Vegetarians have so many more options there!! But the thing I miss the most is Tex-Mex, which is a mix of Texan and Mexican cuisine. Think spicy salsa and guacamole with tortilla chips and everything covered in lime juice, fresh tomatoes and cilantro. Also, if you have never eaten a thick Texas rib-eye steak, you have not yet lived. Sadly I know the difference involves things like injected hormones and chemicals but if I only get to eat it once every 2 or 3 years, it's OK, right? Speaking of beef, did you know that hot dogs are made of beef and not pork, like they are here? They are a billion times better, especially with fresh onions on top and some American mustard. Finally I have to say that one of the best culinary inventions is the giant soft pretzel. I love them so much that I found a way to make them from scratch here! It takes me three hours but sometimes I just have to have them. The only bad part is that you absolutely need American mustard with them, and I've just run out of my stash! 
 
Another reason why I miss the US is because of the opportunities there. If you want to study oceanography, there is a university only 20 minutes away from you, teaching it! (Also, side note, why is oceanography so difficult to study here, the ocean is RIGHT THERE!) If you want to learn vinyasa yoga, well you have a choice of 7 studios in your neighborhood! If you want to take piano lessons, there are 30 teachers in your area and someone will probably even come to your house. If you want to order a spiralizer (seriously this is a recent problem I have had here, I can't get anyone to ship one to Reunion!) (oh and a spiralizer is something that turns vegetables into noodles.) well you just take five minutes deciding on the style you want on Amazon and it shows up at your door in only 8-10 working days! If you want ANYTHING at ANYTIME, whatever you can dream up, you can have, be, or do. You are only limited by your ambition and imagination. And I guess by money too. 
 
Did you know in the US, the customer has the power? Capitalism certainly has it's flaws, but when you decide to spend your hard earned money somewhere, the company at least pretends to make you feel important. Because they know you can just as easily turn around and spend your money somewhere else. And they definitely want you to stay. I used to wait tables at a bar. The wait staff is paid $2.13 an hour, just enough to cover taxes. You bring home only what you earn in tips. (Which, by the way, is 20 percent of your bill in the US, if you ever travel there! That's why the restaurants are so much cheaper, gratuity is not included!) So the wait staff is motivated to make you the happiest/drunkest person you can possibly be. The more happy you are, the more likely you are to come back, to tell you friends to come with you, and to request your really lovely waitress who always takes good care of you. We have a time limit in the US. In general, you are supposed to be greeted at your table within one minute of sitting down, and a drink should be in your hand within the first five minutes. If your beer is down to the last quarter, you will be handed another one without even having to ask for it. The last few times I've been to a restaurant here, I've waited about 20 minutes for someone to stroll over to my table and ask what we want. Then they either forget what we ordered or mess it up somehow, or they take another hour to get the food on the table. I'm not exaggerating, this happens more than it doesn't here. And in Reunion, when your hot water breaks down in your apartment, your landlord will apparently take the first few days to argue with you about why you should pay to replace his fifteen year old water heater, and then when he concedes, he'll send two incompetent guys who can't fix the problem for another five days. Back home, the landlord would have that changed out in a day, and if for some reason he couldn't, he'd offer you some kind of "I'm sorry" gift like restaurant tickets or a fruit basket. They want you to stay and be happy, write nice reviews about them online and tell everyone how awesome they are.
 
 
So, I invite anyone to meet me in the US in July! We will share some great Tex-Mex at a restaurant with excellent service, and then go off to our yoga/singing classes because YES WE CAN!
 
Vocabulary
 
realise - se rendre compte de
lately - récemment
homesick - nostalgique
diet - régime
actually - en fait
 
lime - citron vert
cilantro - coriandre
a billion - milliard
from scratch - à partir de zéro
run out of - à court de
 
side note - notes secondaires
noodles - nouilles
pretend - prétendre
wait tables - servir des tables
tips - pourboire
 
cheaper - moins cher
drunkest - plus ivre
somehow - d'une façon ou d'une autre
break down - tomber en panne
landlord - propriétaire
 
fix - réparer
gift - cadeau
fruit basket - corbeille de fruits
awesome - impressionnant
00:0000:00

53 - Homesick

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I have been traveling in and out of my country since I was 18, but I've recently realised that this is the longest time I've been away without a little month's break or something in the middle. Lately I've been feeling kind of homesick, so I thought I would share with you a few reasons why.
You might laugh, since French cuisine is among the best in the world, but I miss my American food! Although I've recently become vegetarian, I can tell you that when I go back to the US this July, I will not be adhering to my new diet, although I must add that the vegetarian and vegan restaurants are so incredible that even meat eaters would be surprised to learn that what they are eating isn't actually meat. Vegetarians have so many more options there!! But the thing I miss the most is Tex-Mex, which is a mix of Texan and Mexican cuisine. Think spicy salsa and guacamole with tortilla chips and everything covered in lime juice, fresh tomatoes and cilantro. Also, if you have never eaten a thick Texas rib-eye steak, you have not yet lived. Sadly I know the difference involves things like injected hormones and chemicals but if I only get to eat it once every 2 or 3 years, it's OK, right? Speaking of beef, did you know that hot dogs are made of beef and not pork, like they are here? They are a billion times better, especially with fresh onions on top and some American mustard. Finally I have to say that one of the best culinary inventions is the giant soft pretzel. I love them so much that I found a way to make them from scratch here! It takes me three hours but sometimes I just have to have them. The only bad part is that you absolutely need American mustard with them, and I've just run out of my stash! 
Another reason why I miss the US is because of the opportunities there. If you want to study oceanography, there is a university only 20 minutes away from you, teaching it! (Also, side note, why is oceanography so difficult to study here, the ocean is RIGHT THERE!) If you want to learn vinyasa yoga, well you have a choice of 7 studios in your neighborhood! If you want to take piano lessons, there are 30 teachers in your area and someone will probably even come to your house. If you want to order a spiralizer (seriously this is a recent problem I have had here, I can't get anyone to ship one to Reunion!) (oh and a spiralizer is something that turns vegetables into noodles.) well you just take five minutes deciding on the style you want on Amazon and it shows up at your door in only 8-10 working days! If you want ANYTHING at ANYTIME, whatever you can dream up, you can have, be, or do. You are only limited by your ambition and imagination. And I guess by money too. 
Did you know in the US, the customer has the power? Capitalism certainly has it's flaws, but when you decide to spend your hard earned money somewhere, the company at least pretends to make you feel important. Because they know you can just as easily turn around and spend your money somewhere else. And they definitely want you to stay. I used to wait tables at a bar. The wait staff is paid $2.13 an hour, just enough to cover taxes. You bring home only what you earn in tips. (Which, by the way, is 20 percent of your bill in the US, if you ever travel there! That's why the restaurants are so much cheaper, gratuity is not included!) So the wait staff is motivated to make you the happiest/drunkest person you can possibly be. The more happy you are, the more likely you are to come back, to tell you friends to come with you, and to request your really lovely waitress who always takes good care of you. We have a time limit in the US. In general, you are supposed to be greeted at your table within one minute of sitting down, and a drink should be in your hand within the first five minutes. If your beer is down to the last quarter, you will be handed another one without even having to ask for it. The last few times I've been to a restaurant here, I've waited about 20 minutes for someone to stroll over to my table and ask what we want. Then they either forget what we ordered or mess it up somehow, or they take another hour to get the food on the table. I'm not exaggerating, this happens more than it doesn't here. And in Reunion, when your hot water breaks down in your apartment, your landlord will apparently take the first few days to argue with you about why you should pay to replace his fifteen year old water heater, and then when he concedes, he'll send two incompetent guys who can't fix the problem for another five days. Back home, the landlord would have that changed out in a day, and if for some reason he couldn't, he'd offer you some kind of "I'm sorry" gift like restaurant tickets or a fruit basket. They want you to stay and be happy, write nice reviews about them online and tell everyone how awesome they are.
So, I invite anyone to meet me in the US in July! We will share some great Tex-Mex at a restaurant with excellent service, and then go off to our yoga/singing classes because YES WE CAN!
Vocabulary
realise - se rendre compte de
lately - récemment
homesick - nostalgique
diet - régime
actually - en fait
lime - citron vert
cilantro - coriandre
a billion - milliard
from scratch - à partir de zéro
run out of - à court de
side note - notes secondaires
noodles - nouilles
pretend - prétendre
wait tables - servir des tables
tips - pourboire
cheaper - moins cher
drunkest - plus ivre
somehow - d'une façon ou d'une autre
break down - tomber en panne
landlord - propriétaire
fix - réparer
gift - cadeau
fruit basket - corbeille de fruits
awesome - impressionnant
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